Tetiana Bulakh

Grant Type

Dissertation Fieldwork Grant

Institutional Affiliation

Indiana U., Bloomington

Grant number

Gr. 9487

Approve Date

April 27, 2017

Project Title

Bulakh, Tetiana, Indiana U., Bloomington, IN - To aid research on 'Things That Matter: Humanitarian Aid and Citizenship among Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) in Ukraine,' supervised by Dr. Sarah D. Phillips

Preliminary abstract: This dissertation project investigates the humanitarian aid to internally displaced persons (IDPs) and its effects on state-citizens relationships in Ukraine. Since 2014 conflicts in Eastern Ukraine have forced more than 1.2 million people to become conflict-driven IDPs. Employing ethnographic techniques, the research explores the politics of governance, routes of circulation, and patterns of consumption of material aid. The project asks three sets of research questions: (Q1) How does the state interpret and protect the social rights of its displaced citizens through the distribution of humanitarian aid? What political relations does the aid activate? How do non-state aid providers complement and/or overtake functions of the state? (Q2) How do displaced people access aid? What are the IDPs’ claims for aid? How do IDPs interpret citizenship through the actual consumption of aid? (Q3) How does the value and political meanings of humanitarian aid change in the process of its circulation? In addition to the exploration of existing politics of aid, this research questions how humanitarian systems address contemporary needs of displaced people. It also offers a nuanced examination of aid consumption that elucidates agency of displaced people, who develop strategies of accessing, using, and making sense of aid.